Once Again, It's The Economymedia3.washingto...
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blog.washingtonpost.com — If 2007 was the year of Iraq in the presidential campaign, 2008 is now shaping up as the year of the economy.

In the first days of the New Year, the stock market has registered one of its worst year-opening performances ever. The first jobs report of 2008 showed continued softening in labor markets and unemployment jumped to 5 percent, a two-year high. The mortgage crisis has not abated and continues to spook economists and local elected officials.

All of this has significant implications for the presidential campaign. The economy, stupid, is more than a historical artifact from the 1992 campaign. It may suddenly be a call to arms for all the presidential aspirants.

Change remains the dominant force in this election year. Among issues, national security remains vitally important. But with economic concerns intensifying, the candidate or candidates who wins the economic argument may win the presidency. Certainly the issue will help shape the Democratic and Republican nomination battles over the coming weeks.

The economy's salience as an issue has been rising. In New Hampshire, more Republicans and more Democrats cited the economy as the most important issue now facing the country.

Among Democrats, 38 percent said the economy is the big issue, compared with 31 percent who named Iraq and 27 percent who said health care. Among Republicans, 31 percent named the economy while 24 percent cited Iraq and 23 percent said illegal immigration.

Nationally, the economy began popping to the top of the list of voters' concerns before the turn of the year. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in early December found the economy and Iraq essentially tied as the top issues of concern. The previous month, Iraq was the dominant issue by a margin of 2-1.

Which candidate stands to benefit most as voters' concerns about the economy rise? At this point, Hillary Clinton may have some advantage over Barack Obama. For both Clintons, economic issues have been central to their political thinking and strategy from the day Bill Clinton announced his candidacy in 1991.

Posted by McNaab
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Among the Democratic Candidates, who do you believe will have better Economic Policies?
Hillary Clinton
18%
Barack Obama
31%
John Edwards
18%
Dennis Kucinich
20%
Mike Gravel
13%
This is not a scientific survey, click here to learn more. Results may not total 100% due to rounding and voting descrepencies.
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